Finding passion Published Feb. 3, 2010 By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- My father gave me two pieces of advice before I left for Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The first was, "Never forget where you came from." At the time I didn't really understand what he meant. However, over the next 8 1/2 weeks of BMT I heard the same phrase over and over again from the military training instructors that were developing me into an Airman. It made me think a lot about what the words meant to me personally. I came from an Air Force family, with both my parents going on to successful careers after their service during the Vietnam War. They taught me many valuable lessons, which I never realized they had learned while in the Air Force. As I progressed through BMT I began to see those same lessons taught over and over again in the form of our core values: · Integrity first. · Service before self. · Excellence in all we do. Those words, simple as they are, carry a lot of meaning. They bring about a sense of pride and honor when I think about the weight they carry. One might say Air Force has adopted a way of life from a code chivalrous code of honor which has become ingrained into the soul of Airmen. This way of life was taught to me my whole life; seemingly preparing me for the career path I would eventually choose. It was no small wonder that I fell in love with the Air Force and the life it offered me. The life I had chosen made me examine the second piece of advice my father gave me, "the Air Force can change you for the better, if you let it." As the weeks passed in BMT I found myself instilled with a newfound sense of pride and honor. All the simple, basic tasks we performed under stress taught me to do everything with a sense of purpose. It taught me to succeed and be passionate about that success. I recently celebrated my first anniversary with the Air Force and it allowed me to look back and examine the successes of my short career. Everything I accomplished thus far has stayed in tune with the lessons learned from my father and from my time in BMT. I set goals for myself and pursued them, aggressively and passionately. As soon as I was able I enrolled in college, volunteered for numerous events and created a fitness lifestyle for myself. I learned early on that a good recipe for success was to tune my goals with the needs of the Air Force. By furthering the mission I am furthering myself, and my passion, to eventually become an officer. And as I look back on this past year I feel nothing but pride toward my dedication to the Air Force. It has made me realize something important about myself, which I think is essential for success anywhere. I found my passion in the United States Air Force and it has changed me for the better.